RSS
Anatomy of a campaign ad: 'Independent'
Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown touts his record in a new ad — leaving out the fact that he's, you know, a Republican
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) is facing off with former Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren in a closely-fought battle sure to be one of the year's most exciting Senate races.
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) is facing off with former Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren in a closely-fought battle sure to be one of the year's most exciting Senate races.
YouTube
T

he candidate: Scott Brown, the incumbent Massachusetts senator campaigning for a full six-year term after winning his seat in 2010, following the death of Ted Kennedy. His likely opponent is popular progressive Elizabeth Warren.

The ad: The 30-second spot — a shortened version of a video released earlier this year — is titled "Independent," and begins with a clip from Brown's 2010 victory speech, in which he praises the "independent majority" for delivering "a great victory." The ad also features a clip from a 60 Minutes report in which journalist Lesley Stahl paraphrases Brown's campaign theme by calling him "unpredictably independent and beholden to no one." The last 10 seconds of the spot feature images of Brown on the campaign trail as he reminds voters that "we have more work to do getting this economy moving again."

The ad buy: The spot will air in several northeastern media markets and on statewide cable. The specific amount of money dedicated to broadcasting the ad has not been made available by Brown's campaign, though this race "is expected to be the most expensive in the country," says Shira Schoenberg at MassLive.com.

The strategy: Massachusetts is a traditionally Democratic state, and Brown's campaign wants to tout his "willingness to work with those across the aisle," says Paul Steinhauser at CNN. "Bragging about being bipartisan didn't help Sen. Dick Lugar of Indiana" — the moderate Republican incumbent just got creamed in a primary with Tea Party-backed Richard Mourdock — but it "may be the path to re-election" for Brown. Well, that strategy makes sense, says Bridget Johnson at PJ Tatler. After all, "independents fueled Brown's victory" in 2010.

The reaction: It's ridiculous for Brown to claim independence, says Josh Israel at Think Progress. After all, when Senate Republicans filibuster, Brown joins them 76 percent of the time. Oh, don't get your "knickers in a twist," says Johnson. Brown is relatively independent — and the ad simply "doesn't mince words." Regardless, this isn't the first time Brown has tried to detach himself from national Republicans, says Emily Schultheis at Politico. In a radio ad out last week, Brown bragged about a measure helping veterans by saying that "standing with President Obama on the day he signed it into law was another one of those great experiences."

Sources: Boston Globe, CNN, MassLive.com, PJ Tatler, Politico, ScottBrown.com, Think Progress

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week